The Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (OSISA) has announced a call for applications for COVID-19 Response.
The OSISA, like many other agencies has not been spared from the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. As the numbers of the pandemic surge and states strive to flatten the curves, OSISA has observed a rising heavy-handedness by states who have adopted strict securitized approaches informed by “cut and paste” lockdown measures that are largely context and culturally insensitive. This has resulted in rising human rights violations in a context where citizens’ access to livelihoods has been severely curtailed; squarely compromising OSISA’s own values of promoting open society values by working towards building vibrant and tolerant democracies across the region.
In the context of a rapidly evolving and complex reality in Southern Africa and in a bid to continue promoting open society values, OSISA is re-engineering and re-calibrating its strategic direction to focus on four major themes that represent the overarching mandate of the institution beginning in 2021–2024. These include the following:
- Confronting and resisting autocracy, corporate power and state capture
- Promoting just, inclusive, sustainable societies and challenging inequality
- Promoting and protecting human rights and defending constitutionalism
- Democratising access to information and promoting digital rights
It is under the ambit of OSISA’s strategic direction which seeks to confront the power systems, both visible and hidden, the motive forces that undermine human rights and the resultant socio-economic and political disruptions in the region that the response to the Covid-19 pandemic is framed. Under this focused Covid-19 response strategy, OSISA is supporting programmes aligned to the following specific strategic objectives and themes in the fight against Covid-19:
- Promoting information democracy in Southern Africa
- Building resilient social services systems that deliver equitable and sustainable universal access to health, education and water.
- Charting pathways to new economic realities in a new world (Dis)Order
- Curbing corruption while promoting transparency and accountability
- Responding to diminishing human rights protections due to increased securitisation, authoritarianism and constitutional reversals.
- Protecting women’s rights: a gender lens to the COVID-19 response.
To be eligible to apply for an OSISA grant, the following requirements are essential for established organisations, but not mandatory particularly for nascent organisations or social movements:
- Have a mission and implement programmes that are consistent with open society values and the strategic objectives of this Covid-19 call;
- Possess experience and expertise in responding to crises and pandemics;
- Demonstrate the ability to operate in a clear niche and be a significant actor within that arena (demonstrated by a record of producing materials, having conducted research and/or advocacy, and having implemented programmes at a sub-regional, national or region-wide level);
- Demonstrate the ability to operate a well-managed and financially viable operation (demonstrated by the submission of three-to-five years of audited financial statements and a letter of support from an existing donor);
- Sound and strong track record of success and impact on its target population (as evidenced by the submission of independent programmatic evaluations that are less than two years old);
- Strong financial management systems and strong capacity for resource mobilization (as evidenced by the existence of a qualified accountant and/or accounting firm managing the organisation’s finances, and evidence of financial systems in place); alternatively, be open to being assisted to develop financial and operational systems that are in line with good practice and standards. (This will be done either through OSISA or a fiscal agent).
- A clear strategic vision for the organization, and an articulation of how this vision will assist the organisation to address the needs of the population and/or open society issue for which it requires support and funding.
What they Do Not Fund:
- Research and book publishing projects that are not tied to a broader advocacy strategy.
- Capital for start-up income generating projects outside of a broader capacity enhancement framework.
- Individuals’ initiatives and travel for conferences outside of a broader well-articulated strategy.
- Projects outside of their geographical mandate (OSISA works in Angola, Botswana, DRC, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe).
- They do not fund political parties or candidates.